Minister’s pledge over high speed rail project

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Transport Secretary and North Derbyshire MP Patrick McLoughlin has pledged the planned high speed rail network will be built ‘on time, on budget’.

In his speech to the Conservative Party conference, the MP repeated the Government’s belief that the £43 billion ‘will create jobs and growth’.

He said: “We will squeeze every penny of economic benefit out of the line and cut down on costs.

“We’ve brought back the Olympic dream team to do it, two stars who made London 2012 such a brilliant success. Sir David Higgins - the man who got that fantastic Olympic Park built – is going to be the new chair of High Speed Two. There’s literally no-one better for the job.

“And Lord Deighton – the man who helped organise the games – is leading our Growth Taskforce. His team will make sure the line creates jobs and growth right across Britain.

“We’ll build it carefully, and we will build it right - as we did with High Speed One in Kent.

“On time. And on budget.

“Of course as we build our ambition for the future we also need to keep our eyes on the present. I get that.

“There’s a big job for them because transport, now, it matters as it’s never mattered before. Get it wrong, and our competitors won’t stop investing in the best. Leave our old system to carry the strain and good jobs will go abroad.”

But Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 campaign manager, said: “No-one is buying the idea that HS2 will come in on time or on budget. On top of that, the official cost of the project went up by £10bn this summer and there is a bill before Parliament asking for an unknown amount of money just to be spent on design.”

Compulsory work for jobless concern: Page 17.